The “third” estimate of U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2019 increased by 2 percent at an annualized rate, unchanged from the “second” estimate. Overall, the slower real GDP growth in the second quarter compared to the first quarter mainly reflected weaker business investment (including inventory investment) and net exports, while strong consumer and government spending mainly led the economic expansion. U.S. nonfarm employment added fewer-than-expected 136,000 jobs in September. The employment for July and August, however, was revised up by a combined 45,000 jobs. As a result, an average of 157,000 job gain per month was produced for the third quarter, which is lower than the 189,000 jobs per month from the same quarter of 2018. The unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent, its lowest level since December 1969. Average hourly earnings growth in September, nonetheless, decelerated to 2.9 percent year-over-year, its slowest pace in a year. A fear of a potential recession arose largely due to the ongoing U.S.-China trade dispute and global economic slowdown. The Fed will likely cut its federal funds rate again before the end of this year if political and economic uncertainty continues.
The Nevada economy experienced generally positive signals with the release of the most recent data. Seasonally adjusted statewide employment gained a strong 5,400 jobs in August and posted the largest percentage job increase of 3 percent year-over-year among all states.
Clark County also experienced positive signals in its economic activity relative to last year. Seasonally adjusted employment added 3,400 jobs in August, up by 1.8 percent from last year. August visitor volume in Clark County was up slightly by 0.7 percent year-over-year. August gaming revenue rose by 4.7 percent over the same period. Total McCarran Airport passengers in August continued to increase by 2.9 percent from last year. July taxable sales and gasoline sales (in gallons) climbed by 3.6 and 0.6 percent, respectively, from a year ago. Residential housing permits/units in August experienced a significant loss after recent large gains, down by 38.8 percent year-over-year.
Washoe County posted somewhat favorable economic signals. The Reno-Sparks seasonally adjusted employment gained 500 jobs in August, up by 6.1 percent year-over-year. The unemployment rate, however, moved up to 3.3 percent. July taxable sales for Washoe and Storey Counties ticked up by 1.3 percent year-over-year. Gaming revenue increased by 4.4 percent over the same period. August total airport passengers rose robustly by 7.2 percent year-over-year.
Stephen M. Miller, Director
Jinju Lee, Economic Analyst
UNLV Center for Business and Economic Research
The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas or the Nevada System of Higher Education.